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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2005

Contact: Peter Aseltine, OAG (609) 292-4791
Erin Phalon, DEP (609) 984-1795

New Jersey Reaches Major Air Pollution Settlement

ConocoPhillips to Spend $60 Million to Reduce Pollution at Bayway Refinery

(05/05) TRENTON -- Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that New Jersey, the federal government and several other states have reached a settlement with ConocoPhillips Company. The settlement will require the company to install major new pollution controls at the Bayway Refinery in Linden and at ten other refineries located throughout the United States.

"This settlement means cleaner, healthier air for all of New Jersey," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "We're holding companies outside our borders accountable and will continue to work with companies here to fight pollution."

Representatives of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and DEP negotiated provisions that will require ConocoPhilips to spend approximately $60 million on upgrades that will substantially reduce harmful air pollution from the Bayway Refinery. Deputy Attorney General Scott B. Dubin and DEP Administrator for Air Compliance and Enforcement Edward M. Choromanski negotiated for New Jersey.

"This agreement will have a real impact on the lives of many New Jersey residents by substantially reducing air pollution from the Bayway Refinery," said Attorney General Harvey. "We negotiated $60 million in new pollution controls, which will decrease harmful emissions that threaten the health of people in the area, particularly children with asthma and senior citizens with respiratory ailments."

"Today's announcement signifies a tremendous step forward for public health and environmental protection in New Jersey's most densely populated areas," said Commissioner Campbell. "By requiring ConocoPhillips to improve the Bayway facility, the State of New Jersey and the federal government will reduce the public's exposure to particles that cause asthma, cardiovascular disease and respiratory distress.

The settlement requires ConocoPhillips to control the highest sources of emissions at the Bayway refinery. The pollution control measures are expected to reduce odors.

Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions

The settlement will reduce the Bayway refinery's annual volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by more than 50 tons. Bayway currently emits more VOCs than the second- and third-largest New Jersey refineries combined.

As part of an effort to reduce emissions of VOCs such as benzene, ConocoPhillips will install a cover on the Bayway refinery's wastewater separator by December 2008. The installation of this cover, which will cost at least $8 million, will reduce VOC emissions at the water treatment unit by 95 percent. The facility failed to have an approved plan to control ninety of emissions of VOCs, in violation of state regulations. DEP would approve a new plan that ConocoPhillips must submit that will be based on actions required under the settlement.

Reduction of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides and Sulfur Dioxide

ConocoPhillips must install new pollution controls that will reduce by approximately 1,300 tons per year the refinery's emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to the formation of ozone and thereby aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma. In addition, ConocoPhillips will install a new fuel gas system that will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) by thousands of tons per year. The required measures also will reduce emissions of fine nitrate and sulfate particles which, when inhaled, can cause or contribute to respiratory distress, cardiovascular disease and premature death.

Summary of Pollution Control Measures Mandated by the Settlement

According to the settlement, ConocoPhillips will take the following actions at Bayway:

  • Install a cover on wastewater separator or a new covered separator, and controls, by December 2008. This measure, which will cost at least $8 million, will reduce emissions of VOCs at the treatment unit by 95 percent.

  • Install a new fuel gas system by December 2010 to burn cleaner natural gas instead of fuel oil, reducing SO2 emissions by thousands of tons per year. This will cost $28 million to $38 million.

  • Install new pollution controls on heaters and boilers by December 2010 at cost of $20 million, reducing annual NOx emissions by approximately 900 tons.

  • Enhance pollution controls on a unit that converts crude oil into gasoline by December 2006, reducing annual NOx emissions by approximately 400 tons.

  • Reduce emissions of VOCs by implementing an enhanced leak detection and repair program.

  • Reduce VOC and acid gas emissions by minimizing flaring, the uncontrolled burning of emissions that bypass controls.

  • Audit and reduce toxic benzene emissions.

The other parties to the settlement regarding violations of state and federal air pollution laws are the United States, through the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana and the Northwest Clean Air Agency in Washington State.

Today's Consent Decree and Complaint were filed in the U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas. The Consent Decree is subject to a public comment period and final court approval.

 

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Last Updated: January 27, 2005